solardiz writes "A new community-enhanced version of John the Ripper adds support for GPUs via CUDA and OpenCL, currently focusing on slow-to-compute hashes and ciphers such as Fedora's and Ubuntu's sha512crypt, OpenBSD's bcrypt, encrypted RAR archives, WiFi WPA-PSK. A 5x speedup over AMD FX-8120 CPU per-chip is achieved for sha512crypt on NVIDIA GTX 570, whereas bcrypt barely reaches the CPU's speed on an AMD Radeon HD 7970 (a high-end GPU). This result reaffirms that bcrypt is a better current choice than sha512crypt (let alone sha256crypt) for operating systems, applications, and websites to move to, unless they already use one of these 'slow' hashes and until a newer/future password hashing method such as one based on the sequential memory-hard functions concept is ready to move to. The same John the Ripper release also happens to add support for cracking of many additional and diverse hash types ranging from IBM RACF's as used on mainframes to Russian GOST and to Drupal 7's as used on popular websites — just to give a few examples — as well as support for Mac OS X keychains, KeePass and Password Safe databases, Office 2007/2010 and ODF documents, Firefox/Thunderbird/SeaMonkey master passwords, more RAR archive kinds, WPA-PSK, VNC and SIP authentication, and it makes greater use of AMD Bulldozer's XOP extensions."
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solardiz writes "DES is still in use, brute-force key search remains the most effective attack on it, and it is an attractive building block for certain applications (the key size may be increased e.g. with 3DES). Openwall researchers, with funding from Rapid7, came up with 17% shorter Boolean expressions representing the DES S-boxes. Openwall's John the Ripper 1.7.8 tests over 20 million combinations against DES-based crypt(3) per second on a Core i7-2600K 3.4 GHz, which roughly corresponds to a DES encryption speed of 33 Gbps."
arglebargle_xiv writes "In a sign that many eyes don't really make (security) bugs shallow, a thirteen-year-old password-hashing bug that affects (at least) PHP, some Linux distros (Owl, ALT Linux, SUSE), and a variety of other apps has just been patched. This problem had been present in widely-used code since 1998 without anyone noticing it." Better late than never; reader Trailrunner7 points to this article outlining the dangers of old exploits, given old code for them to toy with.
solardiz writes "Openwall GNU/*/Linux (or Owl for short) version 3.0 is out, marking 10 years of work on the project. Owl is a small, security-enhanced Linux distro for servers, appliances, and virtual appliances. Two curious properties of Owl 3.0: no SUID programs in the default install (yet the system is usable, including password changing); and logging of who sends messages to syslog (thus, a user can't have a log message appear to come, say, from the kernel or sshd). No other distro has these. Other highlights of Owl 3.0: single live+install+source CD, i686 or x86_64, integrated OpenVZ (host and/or guest), 'make iso' & 'make vztemplate' in the included build environment, ext4 by default, xz in tar/rpm/less, 'anti-Debian' key blacklisting in OpenSSH. A full install is under 400 MB, and it can rebuild itself from source."
An anonymous reader writes "Google is in the process of upgrading their existing EXT2 filesystem to the new and improved EXT4 filesystem. Google has benchmarked three different filesystems — XFS, EXT4 and JFS. In their benchmarking, EXT4 and XFS performed equally well. However, in view of the easier upgrade path from EXT2 to EXT4, Google has decided to go ahead with EXT4."
Demonfly writes to tell us that Solar Designer, who some would argue is one of the more respected security experts on the net, took the time to answer a few questions about the future of Openwall, the security enhanced GNU/Linux distro. From the interview: "There's real demand specifically for security-enhanced Linux systems. Linux is widespread, it has good hardware support, there's a lot of software available for it (including some commercial packages), and there are system administrators with specific Linux skills. Of course, OpenBSD and other *BSDs have their user bases, too - and people are working on the security of those systems. No, Linux (the kernel) is not a better choice than *BSDs security-wise. But it is not substantially worse either."
Chuck writes "I came across EnGarde Secure Linux about two years ago when it was first released, and I see they just released the newest version. Improved Mandatory Access Control using LIDS, awesome web-based manager, code from the Openwall Project and winner of the Network Computing Hardened Linux product of the year. I love EnGarde."
James Morris writes: "Here's an update on the Linux Security Modules project (LSM). In April last year, the NSA proposed SELinux at the first Linux Kernel Summit. Following feedback from Linus, the LSM project was initiated by Crispin Cowan to develop a generic access control framework for Linux which would allow different types of security policies to be implemented as loadable kernel modules. Rather than having to choose one security model, LSM aims to provide a framework for incorporating a variety of advanced security mechanisms into Linux with a minimal effect on the base kernel. This week, Chris Wright (the principal maintainer) formally announced patches for the 2.4 and 2.5 kernels. Chris will be presenting LSM at this year's Kernel Summit and giving a talk at OLS, hopefully kicking off discussion on acceptance of LSM into the main kernel. Projects which have already been ported to LSM include SELinux, LIDS, DTE, Openwall and Posix.1e Capabilities. Check out the newly re-vamped web site for downloads, documentation and general information."